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A new e-book Reader

A company in India, Infibeam, has introduced Pi, an e-ink based book reader for the Indian market, with support for local languages and a very Kindle-like look.

Lesser base storage than the Kindle, but you can extend the memory with an SD card. It can read PDFs, ePubs, HTML, DOC, JPG and some other stuff, which is awesome. Doesn’t have a keyboard though, so while you can bookmark stuff you can’t make notes; which is a bit unfortunate. Like the Kindle, it can play MP3s.

It has a built-in version of Sudoku, and they claim they’ll add more apps.

Given the price (10K, lower than the Kindle), and the reading culture in India, I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes a decent hit. I love the Indian language support, which the Kindle lacks. If you go to the link, they show a mixed-language book with both English and Sanskrit text. They claim to carry 100,000 books for now, which is a goodly number, given that the Kindle, introduced long ago, so far carries about 400,000.

I’m not sure if this comes with a built-in cellular data connection like the Kindle, but it doesn’t really matter. I’ve always thought that was a bit of an overkill, I’m happy to sync a book reader via my computer for purchasing books.

I wonder if someone couldn’t produce a cheaper version of this for the poorer schools in India which have such a hard time providing access to books. Yes, 50 of these would be very expensive compared to buying 50 books — but you can just have 50 of these in a class and every student of every grade and subject could use exactly the same device in the classroom. Lots of saved paper, and maybe saved money in the long term too.